Ajax Amsterdam and coach Marcel Keizer return to training still shocked by Appie Nouri collapse
Posted: 16 July 2017 Time: 17:42
Ajax Amsterdam coach Marcel Keizer said the team are still coming to terms with the collapse of Abdelhak Nouri, who suffered brain damage after a suspected heart attack during training.
The Dutch club on Saturday returned to the field for the first time since the incident last Sunday in a closed doors training game against Belgian club Racing Genk, having spent the last week dealing with the trauma of Nouri’s on-field collapse and subsequent diagnosis.
“It has been a week of emotion and sadness and supporting his family,” Keizer told Dutch television. “We were on the training field on Thursday when the team manager told us to stop and to go upstairs for a meeting. That was already a sign and then we were told the bad news.
“We’ve been thinking the whole time of Appie. It’s really difficult, at times we all have our weak moments. Luckily, thanks to the football, we can dull those senses a bit.
“I think the player’s enjoyment is coming back, even if it takes a while. It will be different for each individual. But we must make sure we focus ourselves to play for important matters.”
Ajax said on Thursday that Nouri's brain damage is “serious and permanent” and he has no chance of a full recovery after the 20-year-old collapsed during a pre-season friendly against Werder Bremen in Hippach, Austria. He was revived on the pitch and airlifted to hospital, but Ajax confirmed that although his heart is working normally, he has lost function in parts of his brain.
"The chances of recovery of these crucial brain functions is nil," the club said in a statement. "This was probably due to a lack of oxygen supply to his brain."
Nouri, a Dutch youth international born in Amsterdam to parents of Moroccan descent, made 15 appearances for the Dutch club last season, including three in the Europa League, where Ajax reached the final.
Ajax play Nice on July 25 in the third qualifying round of the Champions League.